Sunday, August 16, 2009


The ride schedule was adjusted at the last minute and I got scheduled for a 4-hour ride that was originally assigned to Jeremy, Boss man’s son, but Boss man wanted to go on a ride with his niece's husband and he put Jeremy in the office. No problem. I can roll with the punches, but I didn't have a wrangler horse assigned and the horses that I wanted to take were pulled off the line for Boss’s visiting family to ride. He finally assigned me to Sundance, his "dead broke" horse who he'd been letting LB, the department store cowboy, ride. LB had never been on a horse in his life before getting hired. Trust me, Sundance was anything but dead broke after having an inexperienced rider on her day in and day out.

I did finally get out on my ride and things got much better. The riders turned out to be a couple of those rare diamonds. One was a staff writer for multiple horse magazines, the other was the director of a local equine therapy center; both were also riding instructors. Talk about pressure! I found myself sitting straighter in the saddle and paying attention to my body’s communication with Sundance – things that I should do all of the time, but let slide on occasion. Though they rode for work, they had come up to the livery for a “fun” ride, where they didn’t have to worry about anyone but themselves and having a good time. After a rough start with juggling wranglers and horses, once we actually got out on the trail we clicked right off the bat and had a great time. We discussed the articles I’d read that she’d written, talked about some of the great trainers she’d met and the rides she’d been on. Her friend talked about her work with the equine center and the need for used tack for the facility, some of their students and things they’d learned along the way. The writer took tons of pictures and said to watch for a picture of me in one of the magazines executing a proper "road crossing".

It was the perfect ride to settle my nerves after the snafu of trying to get the ride out with all of the last minute changes. Rides like that make the job worth it; we left as a wrangler and two guests, and returned four hours later a group of friends.

Several months later, I was flipping through Trail Rider magazine and what do I see? A blurb about safe road crossing and the picture above it is of me and Sundance. The funny thing about it is that I kept looking at the picture, thinking "I don't recall wearing a long-sleeved red shirt under my gray shirt." Stupid me, I'd had a Washoe moment and forgotten sunscreen – those red sleeves were my sunburned arms!


Roxanne Rustand said...

Wow--you have a really cool blog going, here! The stories are great! I have to share this address with my daughter, who worked as a wrangler in the Tetons for a summer. Some of the stories she told....oh, my.

On one ride, a trail horse keeled over, dead as a doornail. When she radio'd for help, they sent out another guide to take the riders down the trail.

They left her with a little can of bear spray and told her to guard the carcass from the bears until they could figure out what to do. Aaaccckk!!!

At any rate, this is a great blog! I'm going to sign up as a follower, so I don't miss future posts!


GunDiva said...

Thanks Roxanne, I'm really enjoying your blog, too. I've had one horse keel over on a ride and we were absolutely certian that he was dead. Turns out the horse "merely" had a seizure of some sort. He came out of it and stumbled back to the livery - luckily we were very close to home.

I'm sure your daughter will be able to relate to many of the stories that get posted.